UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Hold Off Portland Comeback Behind Special Performance From Mitchell

Dec 26, 2019, 11:56 PM | Updated: Feb 7, 2020, 12:42 pm
Donovan Mitchell - Utah Jazz...
Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz shoots ahead of Tyus Jones #21 of the Memphis Grizzlies and Mike Conley #10 of the Utah Jazz during the first half at FedExForum on November 29, 2019 in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Brandon Dill/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brandon Dill/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz held off a fourth quarter comeback attempt by the Portland Trail Blazers to escape with a six point victory behind an amazing performance by Donovan Mitchell.

Mitchell led the Jazz to a 121-115 win over the Blazers at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Thursday, December 26.

The Jazz held a 20 point advantage headed into the final quarter of play before the Blazers mounted an impressive comeback attempt. Portland cut Utah’s lead down to one point when Utah head coach Quin Snyder called a timeout with 4:40 left to play.

On Utah’s next possession, Mitchell made a contested eight foot shot to push the lead to three.

The Jazz star went on to score eight more points in the final minutes to close out the game for a Utah victory.

Mitchell scored a game-high 35 points on 12-19 shooting and 3-6 from downtown. Late in the third quarter, the Jazz star went on a solo 10-0 run.

He added 3 rebounds, 7 assists in 38 minutes on the court.

“My teammates trust me to make plays down the stretch,” Mitchell told TNT’s Allie LaForce after the game. “Without them, what I do means nothing.”

Utah managed to withstand an offensive onslaught from Portland’s all-star backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

Lillard went toe-to-toe with Mitchell and scored a Blazers-high 34 points on 10-21 fields including 7-13 from behind the arc. The former Weber State Wildcat posted 4 rebounds and 8 assists in 37 minutes.

McCollum poured in 25 points on 10-24 shooting.

The Blazers went to Lillard multiple times down the stretch. A massive block by Rudy Gobert on a shot attempt by the Portland guard put the game away for Utah.

Gobert’s block on Lillard was his only swat of the game but it came with 5.2 seconds remaining and Utah up 119-115.

The two-time defensive player of the year posted another game with a double-double against the Blazers, his fourteenth such game in a row. He’s recorded a double-double in every game during the month of December.

Gobert was a perfect 7-7 from the field for 16 points. He pulled down 15 boards while adding 2 assists and the block in the Jazz’s 12th home win of the season.

The Jazz started the game on fire led by Joe Ingles who didn’t miss a shot until late in the second quarter while recording 17 first half points. Ingles finished the game with 26 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal. The small forward shot 10-15 on field goals and 6-10 from behind the arc.

New Utah guard Jordan Clarkson saw his first minutes as a Jazzman in the first quarter when he subbed in for Ingles. Clarkson played 21 minutes against the Blazers and scored a Utah bench-high 9 points on 4-12 shooting.

“He makes my life a lot easier,” said Mitchell of Clarkson’s addition to the team. “He’s very savvy. We’re glad to have him.”

Utah finished the game shooting 56.8 percent from the field compared to Portland’s 48.3 percent.

The Jazz shared the basketball and recorded 22 assists for their seventh win in the last nine games.

“We’re picking it up defensively,” said Mitchell. “Offensively, we’re moving the ball and we’re clicking.”

With the victory, Utah improved to 19-12 on the season while Portland stumbled to 14-18 overall.

The Jazz (19-12, 7-9 Away) head on the road to play the Los Angeles Clippers (23-10, 14-2 Home) on Saturday, December 28 at 8:30 p.m. (MDT).

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